Packers/Patriots Game Thread

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    Packers/Patriots Game Thread

    What to watch for Sunday against the Packers
    Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:27pm    By Christopher Price


    WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL
     

    Keeping Clay Matthews at bay. Matthews is a pass-rushing demon who has compiled 22.5 sacks over the last year-plus for the Packers. There’s an interesting wrinkle to his game: While most premier pass rushers line up to go against the opposing left tackle, Matthews is on the other side, meaning he’ll go up against Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Vollmer will likely get some help in the form of a tight end who will either stay in to block or make sure to get a chip on Matthews before he starts his route, but the bulk of the responsibility will be on the big German.


    “He's a second year guy that's got a heckuva motor, [and] plays really well in their defense,” New England left tackle Matt Light said of the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Matthews. “They use him in a few different ways. Coming off the edge, he's very accomplished at what he can do and how he does it. Again, I think it's his motor and his relentless style that probably defines him best.”


    Quick start. After the win over the Bears, one of the things that Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler mentioned was the fact that the quick start of the New England offense put a lot of pressure on the Bears offense to try and match the Patriots. New England has played excellent complementary football out of the gate — their first-quarter point differential of plus-42 (75-33) is the highest of any quarter they play — which has put a lot of teams on their heels.


    According to Nuggetpalooza, the Patriots are now second in the league in “first possession points” with 76 (first and second half combined), trailing only the Saints (78). However, Green Bay has allowed only 19 such points, the second fewest in the league (Cleveland, 16). If the Patriots offense continues to operate at peak efficiency and the team can get one or two stops on defense, the Pats should be well on their way.


    “We always focus on starting fast,” said wide receiver Deion Branch. “I think the last two or thee games, we've started fast.”


    Taking care of the football. Few teams do a better job of taking care of the football than the Patriots. Tom Brady has only four picks this season, now has 268 consecutive pass attempts without an interception — 40 shy of Bernie Kosar's all-time record streak, which bridged the 1990-91 seasons — and his eight-game streak without throwing a pick is the longest in his career. In addition, New England has just four fumbles on the season, the lowest total in the league. (According to Nuggetpalooza, the Patriots are on pace for just seven fumbles this year, which would break the club record of 14 (set in 2007) and would tie the NFL mark since 1960, set by the 2002 Chiefs.) They’ll be tested by an opportunistic Green Bay defense that is plus-11 in takeaways (second in the NFC) with 17 interceptions and seven fumbles.


    “Obviously, I know a lot about [cornerback] Charles [Woodson] — I played with Charles in college. He was the defensive player of the year last year [and he’s a] great interceptor,” Brady said. “[Free safety] Nick Collins is a great interceptor back there. [Cornerback] Tramon Williams is a great interceptor. They’ve got a lot of guys who can make plays on the ball. I’m looking forward to this week. It’s one of the best defenses that we’re going to face all year. I think we have a lot of challenges. I think they’re first in scoring or first against the passing offense. What more of a challenge could you want than that?”


    Keep the chains moving with the running game. Rather remarkably, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has 786 rushing yards through 13 games, and could be New England’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Corey Dillon had 1,635 yards on the ground in 2004. Green Bay is average against the run, yielding 117.3 yards per game (19th in the league), but the guy Green-Ellis will meet in the middle more often than not on Sunday will be linebacker A.J. Hawk, a ferocious tackler (he’s second on the team). When it comes to red zone situations, it could come down to Green-Ellis against Hawk, an intriguing matchup that could decide whether the Patriots can come away with seven in the red zone instead of three.

    WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL


    Solving Matt Flynn. No one is quite sure what Flynn brings to the table. An LSU product who will be making the first start of his professional career, he’s completed 25-of-46 pass attempts for 246 yards and 2 interceptions in 27 career games, all in a reserve role. While Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged that things would be different with Flynn under center, that doesn’t mean the Patriots should prepare for a radical overhaul of the Green Bay offense.

    “I mean, their offense is still their offense,” Belichick said. “For them, [if] they change quarterbacks, it’s not like they have a hundred new plays that they haven’t run before just because they put one guy in there. They still run the plays that they run and I’m sure [Flynn’s] reads are still [the same] reads. You don’t have plays and have reads for this quarterback and reads for that quarterback or that type of thing. You run your offense [and] whichever quarterback is in there, executes it.

    “Each guy has his own set of skills and it certainly is important to know who’s in there. But, at the same time, defensively, you are preparing for the same basic offense. The individual skills of the players within the offense, that may change, but you have to be aware of who they are and adjust accordingly.”


    Containing Greg Jennings.
    Jennings is the Packers’ No. 1 option in the passing game. Coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Jennings has 61 catches for 996 yards and 11 touchdowns. In addition, he’s a big-play threat — he leads the NFL with 26 catches of 40 yards or more since 2007 — and presents a formidable test for a young secondary that is still evolving. If Devin McCourty is able to go Sunday night — he was listed as questionable with a rib injury he suffered in last week’s win over the Bears — this will be a matchup worth watching.


    Stopping Brandon Jackson. The Packers lost starting running back Ryan Grant in the opener, which has forced them to lean on the 5-foot-10, 216-pounder out of Nebraska as the primary option in the running game. Jackson won’t remind anyone of Grant, but has shown an ability to break out from time to time, including a 10-carry, 115-yard outburst earlier in the season against the Redskins. Overall, he leads Green Bay in ground yardage this season with a career-high 546 rushing yards on 143 carries. (He’s also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield — he has career-highs this season with 39 catches and 313 receiving yards.) Again, he’s not a particularly overwhelming presence, but with Rodgers out, the Packers might be more inclined to lean on their running game, which would mean more of Jackson.


    Continuing to force turnovers. The Patriots defense has made its bones as a takeaways-hungry crew, and its success doing so has to continue if the team is to beat Green Bay. Rodgers is almost as good as Brady when it comes to taking care of the football — he has thrown just seven interceptions this season, tied for second-fewest in the NFC. But it’ll be Flynn under center, so look for the New England defense to present some different looks for the young quarterback in hopes of keeping their turnover-streak alive.


    “I love giving Tom Brady a short field to work with,” said Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. “The best quarterback in the game. Our job is to keep him in those situations.”


    SPECIAL TEAMS


    New England got a great performance last week on special teams last week against the Bears in Chicago, as kicker Shayne Graham was almost perfect in the snow, while punt returner Julian Edelman had his best day of the season, taking one back and almost pulling off a second one. The Patriots kick return game (and kick coverage, for that matter) probably isn’t where it should be, but still remains better than average. On the other side of the ball, the Packers get solid if unspectacular special teams work from kicker Mason Crosby, while punter Tim Masthay is one of the better punters in the league. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s kick and punt teams are average. The advantage here goes to New England.


    INTANGIBLES

    In the parlance of Tedy Bruschi, Sunday has the potential to be a hat and T-shirt game. That is, if the Jets lose to the Steelers and the Patriots beat or tie the Packers, when the New England players get back to their lockers, they’ll find hats and T-shirts with the words “AFC East Champions.” When the Patriots have been faced with hat and T-shirt games over the years, there are few teams that have a better record.

     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    On the Beat: 5 questions about the Packers

    We check in with one of my former mentors at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Silverstein, to get the lowdown on the Packers. Tom has been one of the finest day-to-day beat writers in the country for a long time.

    1. OK, can Matt Flynn pull this off or what?

    TS: Not by himself, that's for sure. The one way the Packers can win is if Flynn manages the game well, doesn't turn the ball over and gets an inspired performance out of his offensive line. The Packers are going to have to run it better than they have all year if they're going to pull this off. Flynn has pretty good quickness, throws on the run well and is best off play-action. But he doesn't have the arm to throw deep and can't put the juice on the ball Aaron Rodgers can unless he's perfectly set in the pocket and can drive the ball. Even then, Rodgers throws a much tighter, more accurate ball. Flynn's job is to get some first downs, don't turn the ball over and let the running game and defense try to win it.

    2. Who is the one Packers player most Patriots fans don't know right now, but will by the end of the game on Sunday?

    TS: Probably, rookie tight end Andrew Quarless. Flynn seems to have a good rapport with Quarless, probably because they played a lot together on the scout team early in the season. Quarless plays too soft sometimes, can be manhandled at the line, but he has size and speed and has shown an ability to get open down the middle of the field lately. The problem is that he makes one bad play for every two or three good ones he makes. But he has a chance to be a factor split out like a wide receiver. If he can draw a linebacker, he'll run past him. If he gets a DB, he'll have to be more aggressive going for the ball. He could have decent numbers Sunday.

    3. What's the biggest weakness on the Packers' offense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?

    TS: Center Scott Wells isn't very big and Vince Wilfork could give him a lot of trouble. For that reason, and the fact that Flynn isn't very tall, I think you'll see the Patriots attack the middle of the offensive line. Right guard Josh Sitton is the team's best lineman, but left guard Daryn College is coming off a knee injury and can be run past from time to time. I would say the biggest weakness will be the line's inability to give Flynn a pocket. He'll be scrambling a lot, in my opinion.

    4. What's the biggest weakness on the Packers' defense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?

    TS: I would expect the Patriots to try to get OLB Erik Walden in coverage as much as possible. Walden is expected to replace starter Frank Zombo, who is out with a knee injury, but don't be surprised if defensive coordinator Dom Capers comes up with a 3-3 or 4-2 defense that doesn't include Walden. The former college defensive end is still learning the linebacker position and his weakest area is coverage. If Walden doesn't play a lot, then the Patriots will try to get WR Wes Welker lined up on S Charlie Peprah's side and make him the double guy. He's not as fast or as athletic as S Nick Collins, although he has proved to be a very good tackler.

    5. Finally, Packers win on Sunday if....

    TS: Pigs fly, dogs chase mice and cats chew bones. Seriously, the Packers either play up to their competition or down to it. I expect them to play up to the Patriots' level as best they can, but without Rodgers they don't have much of a chance. To win, the Packers have to run the ball against a thin Patriots defensive line and continue to play stingy red-zone defense. They've given up just five touchdowns in the last six games and lead the league in scoring defense. I don't see them holding up very long against the Patriots, but if they can eat up clock with their running game and make a few stops on defense, they'll at least make a game of it.

     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats

    December, 19, 2010
    1. The coaching staffs of the Patriots and Packers highlight the different philosophies of head coaches Bill Belichick and Mike McCarthy. Belichick has 14 assistants, one of the smallest staffs in the NFL. McCarthy has 19, one of the bigger staffs. Belichick recently explained his philosophy on a smaller staff in an interview with Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

    3. Patriots left tackle Matt Light's overall body of work has been solid this season. Like most other left tackles, he's been beaten at times (e.g. Jason Taylor in Week 2), but he has shown in his 10th season that he can still perform at a high level at one of the game's most important positions. Light is a free-agent after the season and should be one of the team's top priorities to re-sign, especially given the potential of change at both guard spots.

    4. The projected temperature at kickoff for tonight's game between the Patriots and Packers is 32 degrees with light winds. Think referee Ed Hochuli, who is assigned to work the game, goes with the short sleeves?

    6. Patriots rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski has made an immediate impact that the NFL has seldom seen before. His seven touchdown receptions are tied for the third most for a rookie tight end along with Eric Green (Steelers, 1990), Raymond Chester (Raiders, 1970) and John Mackey (Colts, 1963). The NFL record is held by Mike Ditka, who had 12 in 1961.

    8. After assuming a full-time role for weeks, Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather had a limited role in last Sunday's win over the Bears by playing just 14 snaps. I don't think the reduced role was based on performance as much as it was a form of internal discipline that reinforced the importance of being on time for meetings.

    10. Speaking of coaches, Bill Belichick is tied with Mike Holmgren for 10th on the all-time charts for wins by a head coach (174). If the Patriots win tonight against Holmgren's old team, the Packers, the next coach for Belichick to catch is Bill Parcells (183).
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread


    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/articles/2010/12/19/packers_qb_rodgers_out_so_patriots_focus_is_now_on_flynn/?camp=localsearch:on:twit:patriots

    Carter activated The Patriots signed cornerback Tony Carter to the active roster and released defensive back Chevis Jackson.

    Carter has been a member of the practice squad since Sept. 7. He originally was signed by the Broncos in 2009 as a rookie free agent after playing at Florida State. Carter, who is 5 feet 9 inches and 175 pounds, was released by the Broncos Aug. 30.

    Rookie cornerback Devin McCourty is questionable tonight with a rib injury. Corners Kyle Arrington (elbow) and Darius Butler (thigh) also are on the injury report, but they are both probable.

    Earlier this week, the team placed cornerback Jonathan Wilhite on injured reserve because of a hip injury.

    Taylor waiting Running back Fred Taylor learned patience earlier this season as he waited for his body to heal from turf toe. Now he is doing the same as he waits on the sideline to see if the Patriots need him. Taylor missed seven games because of turf toe and was active for the first time against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day but did not play.

    He picked up a few carries late in blowouts against the Jets and Bears. He had four carries for 9 yards against the Jets and three carries for 16 yards against the Bears.

    “It’s about continuing to prepare and do what I have to do,’’ said Taylor. “This is my job first and foremost. Regardless of what happens or what goes on, I have to be ready at all costs. I’m just being patient and waiting for the call from above and we’ll go from there.’’

    Real schemers The Patriots may be leading the league in points scored at 31.9 a game, but they have another tough task against a Packers defense that is allowing an average of 14.5 points a game.

    Opponents have scored 18 touchdowns against the Packers, the fewest in the NFL. Green Bay’s defensive coordinator is Dom Capers, a Patriots secondary coach in 2008.

    In 2009, Capers took over the Packers’ defense and helped the team rank first against the run and fifth against the pass.

    “They have some great schemes over there, Capers is a great coach, and a lot of times they rush five guys and you don’t know where it’s coming from and they disguise it very well and they get to the quarterback and cause turnovers and different things like that,’’ Patriots receiver Wes Welker said. “You have to make sure you’re on top of everything, and see everything, and run good routes and get open.’’

     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    Playoff Clinching Scenarios

    http://blogs.nfl.com/2010/12/15/week-15-playoff-clinching-scenarios/
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    Foxboro, MA

    Flurries and a few snow showers throughout the night. Low 26F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 30%


    http://www.weather.com/weather/today/Foxboro+MA+02035
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    How Rodgers' decision affects Pats

    December, 18, 2010

    By Mike Reiss
    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Earlier this week in the Patriots' locker room, one player was asked the biggest challenge facing the defense Sunday night against the Packers.

    "Aaron Rodgers," came the quick reply. "So hopefully he doesn't play."

    Rodgers won't play, the Packers ruling him out Saturday after he sustained a concussion last Sunday in Detroit, his second concussion of the season. It doesn't take an "expert" to realize how much this benefits the Patriots.

    The Packers' offense leans heavily toward the pass, and Rodgers makes it go with his strong arm, sound decision-making, accuracy, and athletic ability to keep plays alive with his feet. As is often the case when many teams go from their No. 1 to No. 2 quarterback, there is a considerable drop-off from Rodgers and backup Matt Flynn, who will make his first career start.

    Earlier this week, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the following on a conference call: "We’re a quarterback-driven system, so it’s important for us to make Matt Flynn successful."

    How the Packers attempt to do that, and how the Patriots counter it, is now a top story line.

    It is likely that Bill Belichick, who coordinates the Patriots' defense, will mix in some different looks for Flynn to decipher. On the flip side, the Packers and Flynn can look to both Patriots losses this season -- Week 2 against the Jets and Week 9 against the Browns -- as examples of young quarterbacks (Mark Sanchez/Colt McCoy) having success against New England.

    One common thread from those games is that both the Jets and Browns stuck with the ground game and eliminated mistakes.

    The Packers, who have been without injured running back Ryan Grant for most of the season, aren't a ground-and-pound team (23rd in the NFL in rushing average). But perhaps through a mix of shorter high-percentage passes that get the ball to explosive receivers in spots where they can produce yards after the catch, and more traditional running plays, they can find the right mix to support Flynn in this tough spot.
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    ESPN's Patriots-Packers prediction roundup

    December, 17, 2010

    By ESPNBoston.com
    A roundup of how ESPN’s analysts see Sunday night’s Patriots-Packers game playing out:

    * ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss: If Aaron Rodgers plays: Packers 30, Patriots 27. No Rodgers: Patriots 31-14. The Packers need this game to keep their playoff hopes in a good place and I expect them to play much better than they did in Detroit. If Rodgers plays, I could see the Packers winning a close game late as I envision him having success against a pass defense without Devin McCourty (if McCourty is held out after being limited in practice).

    * ESPNBoston.com’s Tedy Bruschi: With Rodgers: Patriots 31-24. No Rodgers: Patriots 28-7. My result is the same no matter who plays at quarterback. The Packers are beat up. You could field a pretty good team with their players that are on IR. I don't see this Patriots momentum slowing down. This is the most dialed-in I've seen Tom Brady since 2007.

    * Bill Simmons: PATRIOTS (-11) over Packers. If you watched the Patriots (and I did) and Matt Flynn (and I did) last week, you'd think this line should be "Patriots -30." Intriguing spot for the 8-5 Packers: Should they risk a twice-concussed Aaron Rodgers in New England when they have pivotal home games against the Giants and Bears coming up? Why even risk it? By the way, what word has been said the most during the 2010 season: "touchdown," "Favre" or "concussion"?

    * www.weei.com/sports/boston/this-just-in/2162381/schefter-dc-pats-flaws-will-resurface" target="new">ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter: Patriots over Packers. You can't watch the Patriots and not be impressed. They've scored in their last five games 196 points, which is 32 more than the Panthers have scored in 13 games this season. The team looks incredible, but the one thing that I would say is that these things go in cycles. And just because in Weeks 12 and 13 you look dominant does not ensure postseason success. I was talking to a head coach yesterday and we were talking about the Patriots and their dominance. And he goes, "They're not as good as people are making them out to be." I go, "No?" And he goes, "Every team has flaws, and they show up at different times." The Patriots' flaws have not shown up the last few weeks. They have not turned over the football in five weeks, which is an NFL record. At some point, the secondary is going to get beat, Brady's going to get intercepted, there's going to be a fumble from a running back. These things have not happened to them lately, and they will happen. All I'm saying is, because they've been so dominant the last two weeks, they're not that good. Not that good. Not dominant. I may not pick against the Patriots from here through the Super Bowl. So, there's going to be one week -- maybe, maybe -- when I'm wrong. Otherwise, I'll be right every single week with this team. (From a WEEI interview)

    * ESPN NFL analyst Mike Golic: Patriots over Packers. New England does not hurt themselves. They don’t make mistakes. They wait for you to make a mistake and then they pounce on it. As far as that defense goes, they were really bad early on. They still give up a ton of yards but they don’t break as much, they’re actually getting better. And that offense is machine-like. I think they are as close to unstoppable right now as we’ve seen when they went undefeated in the regular season. Green Bay, this could effectively knock them out of the playoffs.

    * ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth: Patriots over Packers. I don’t think there’s any question right now, the New England Patriots are the most efficient team in the NFL. Offensively, they spread you out, they throw it around the field, they put points on the board, and then they just let their defense go. And they’re gonna create turnovers, that’s who they are. Green Bay right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen with Aaron Rodgers, but they’re so one-dimensional. I just can’t see them going into New England and winning this game.

    * ESPN experts: All eight experts pick the Patriots to beat the Packers.

    * Sunday Countdown: Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Ditka, Cris Carter and Tom Jackson all pick the Patriots.

    * AccuScore simulations: Patriots 30, Packers 21 (on average). You can simulate the game yourself HERE.

    * Madden simulation: Patriots 30, Packers 20. How much is Randy Moss regretting that trade right now? Sans Moss, the Patriots are now the offensive juggernauts of the NFL, and according to "Madden," the Packers are about to be their latest victim. Tom Brady throws for 350 yards and three touchdowns as the Pats move to 12-2 on the season.

    * Matt Williamson, Scouts, Inc.: Patriots 35, Packers 20. (Insider)
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    What a hypocrite Faulk is!


    Ian R. Rapoport RapSheet NFL Network's Marshall Faulk says this is Tom Brady's most impressive season. Calls Brady "our MVP. The best player in our league."
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]Fox boro, MA Flurries and a few snow showers throughout the night. Low 26F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 30% http://www.weather.com/weather/today/Foxboro+MA+02035
    Posted by Rocky[/QUOTE]

    Sun Dec 19
    8 pm
    32° F Precip: 30%

    9 pm
    31° F Precip: 30%

    10 pm
    31° F Precip: 30%

    11 pm
    30° F Precip: 30%
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    I don't expect Mathews to do much, this game will probably lose him the DROY. He hasn't been as good as earlier and I would love to see him become a non-factor. Packers have a great run defense, but so did the Jets, Steelers and Bears, BJGE will come close to 100 yards and 2 TD. Brady will look for quick and early scores to Welker or Branch but I could see BJGE and Woodhead finishing this game off on the ground.

    Pats defense will look to feast on a bad back-up QB, much different game planing than if Rodgers was playing. I expect to see BB work on some defensive schemes and probably rest McCourty by the 2nd half.

    Pats 34 packers 16 
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]What a hypocrite Faulk is! RapSheet    NFL Network's Marshall Faulk says this is Tom Brady's most impressive season. Calls Brady "our MVP. The best player in our league."
    Posted by Rocky[/QUOTE]
    I just heard that, he also just said "It is Tom Brady's division" referring to the Jets panicking. This guy is a tool, he was so HIGH on the Jets and now he thinks they are done and Brady will get to the SB. ugh, this is why I don't even care what the media says.
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    pro bowl voting ends tomorrow!

    http://www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    we usually have more people on this thread by now, I guess with it being a late game and Rodgers out there isn't that much to talk about.
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]we usually have more people on this thread by now, I guess with it being a late game and Rodgers out there isn't that much to talk about.
    Posted by freediro[/QUOTE]


    Yeah, I think you are right....Things will get busier around 4ish
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]Pats to bitchslap: 34 - 16
    Posted by BBReigns[/QUOTE]
    great minds think alike!
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    If Jets lose at Pittsburgh today ... McCourty sits on the sideline the whole game.
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread : great minds think alike!
    Posted by freediro[/QUOTE]

    haha

    Pretty funny.  I think GB will keep them under 30 until the 4th Qtr.  NE will keep them to 3 FGs until a late TD for GB.
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    supoose to start snowing at 6pm, is that accurate?
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]supoose to start snowing at 6pm, is that accurate?
    Posted by kansaspatriot[/QUOTE]


    30% chance of snow from 6PM on.....
     
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    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    A look at 10 areas that project to be crucial, from a New England Patriots perspective, in Sunday night's game against the visiting Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium

    1. Avoiding the mental pitfall with Packers' QB change. The Patriots know they've caught a break with Green Bay ruling Aaron Rodgers out because of a concussion. At the same time, it's not as if the growing-on-the-job Patriots defense is without flaws (e.g., 32nd in the NFL on third down), so this will be a test of the unit's maturity to see how it mentally handles the situation. Highly doubt this will be a problem this late in the year with BB preparing for the playoffs.

     

    2. Blocking Clay Matthews. The Patriots rank seventh in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed per pass play, and Matthews is a top pass rusher, leading Green Bay with 12.5 sacks. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer could see the most of Matthews, although the Packers have also moved the second-year, high-motor rusher around. Though a different style of player, Matthews can disrupt a game similar to Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. This is where our TE's are unsung heroes

    3. Limiting Packers' yards after the catch. Because they don't feature a consistent traditional running game, the Packers sometimes turn to their short passing game by putting the ball in the hands of their explosive pass-catchers where they can gain yardage after the catch. This will challenge the tackling of the Patriots' secondary, especially if top cornerback Devin McCourty does not play. I am hoping we have worked on tackling, but with Flynn in I don't expect there to be enough good passes for the Packers WR to work with.

    4. Winning early downs, then showing Matt Flynndifferent looks. The Packers average 5.75 yards per first-down play, which ranks 11th in the NFL. The Patriots need that number to be lower, keeping Flynn in longer-yardage passing situations. In theory, that will set up the Bill Belichick-coordinated defense to show Flynn different looks that make it harder for him to decipher what is unfolding in front of him. Personally, I don't even see how this is an issue.

    5. Depth on the D-line to deliver. The Patriots are thin on the defensive line with Mike Wright(concussion), Myron Pryor (back) and Ron Brace (concussion) looking unlikely to play. With veteran Gerard Warren (knee) also a question mark, a heavy burden falls on the rest of the line -- Vince Wilfork (7th year), Brandon Deaderick (rookie), Kyle Love (rookie) and potentially new signee Louis Leonard. What? haven't we had this problem all year long, doesn't every team deal with injuries?

    6. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the running game. The Packers have two excellent cornerbacks in Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams, and they are a big reason the Packers rank third in the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed per game (196.8). The run defense, on the other hand, isn't as strong, with opponents averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 117.3 yard per game. That's why this could be a productive game for Green-Ellis & Co. I expect our running game to take over this game in the 2nd half, after we are already up 28-7.

    7. Safety over the top of Greg Jennings. It's unusual to see a team's leading receiver averaging 16.3 yards per reception, but that's what the Packers have with Jennings, a five-year veteran. He's a big-play threat, with 11 touchdown catches, and it's hard to imagine the Patriots won't keep a safety over the top of him, even without Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. Jennings is good, but without Rodgers throwing to him I believe Chung could handle him.

     

    8. Capitalizing on opportunities in the punt return game. Julian Edelman had a punt return for a touchdown called back last week because of a holding penalty, a reflection of how close he is to breaking one. The Packers have already allowed one punt return for a touchdown this season (62 yards) and rank 26th in the NFL when it comes to punt coverage. Edelman has made me eat my words, I though he was been missing opportunities to prove himself but lately his return skills are something we could really use going into the playoffs. Glad he is still on the team, he can still come in as WR or be used in a few trick plays.

    9. Rob Gronkowski in the red zone. Teams facing the Packers have been limited to 27 trips inside the red zone, the lowest total in the NFL (opponents have scored just 13 touchdowns in those trips). So maximizing opportunities in the red zone takes on added importance, and that's where rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski is a big presence at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds. He has seven touchdowns on the season and seems to do some of his best work inside the 20. Hernandez might not be playing today so I don't see why the Gronk can't have a huge game, possibly 2TD's today?

    10. Winning the first quarter. The Packers are one of the NFL's best first-quarter teams, outscoring opponents 57-26. The Patriots are also strong in this area, getting out to quick starts while outscoring foes 75-33 in the first 15 minutes. Naturally, this will go a long way toward determining which team dictates control of the game. The Patriots are better than anyone at piling it one early, don't see this as a problem. Again with Rodgers out I don't see how this will affect the game.

     

    I underlined my little response to each topic. As we all know BB prepares for the game ahead of them and Brady will want to continue to keep this offense clicking, half of these issues won't even come up in the game. Oh yeah, if its snowing or raining then the Packers really do have no chance.

     

     
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from freediro. Show freediro's posts

    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]Always think of special teams in games.
    Posted by bobbysu[/QUOTE]
    we have a done a better job a punt returning, but with Ghost down our kick offs have been much shorter. I would love to see us block a punt/FG and return a kick for a TD. Our special teams hasn't really done anything special since that Miami game.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from harleyroadking11. Show harleyroadking11's posts

    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    In Response to Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread:
    [QUOTE]I don't expect Mathews to do much, this game will probably lose him the DROY. He hasn't been as good as earlier and I would love to see him become a non-factor. Packers have a great run defense, but so did the Jets, Steelers and Bears, BJGE will come close to 100 yards and 2 TD. Brady will look for quick and early scores to Welker or Branch but I could see BJGE and Woodhead finishing this game off on the ground. Pats defense will look to feast on a bad back-up QB, much different game planing than if Rodgers was playing. I expect to see BB work on some defensive schemes and probably rest McCourty by the 2nd half. Pats 34 packers 16 
    Posted by freediro[/QUOTE]

    I'm confused, Mathews is a 2nd year player which I'm sure makes him ineligible for DROY.

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from fitz0527. Show fitz0527's posts

    Re: Packers/Patriots Pre-Game Thread

    Rocky, the most annoying poster on this forum and doesn't even live within 2000 miles of the stadium. Go root for the Broncos, please.
     

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